Chico State athletes awarded for charity

Alistair Docherty, a Chico State men's golfer, is an active member of the SAAC program. Photo courtesy TL Brown.

Not all college athletes want to be getting paid for signing autographs. The same week college football fans watched yet another Heisman-hopeful be suspended for improper benefits, Chico State’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) was awarded for raising the second highest amount of money for the Make-A-Wish foundation, behind only UC San Diego.

“We try to find someone local we can help,” ” said SAAC co-president Tommy Mcguan. “It’s more fulfilling to see your donations or actions bringing joy to someone then just mailing a check to someone in another state. Last year was the first time we granted a Make-A-Wish kids wish in Chico.”

The SAAC is a nationally recognized organization that was set up by colleges around the country to give their varsity athletes a way to give back to the community. Their activities include raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, sending care packages to soldiers, community clean-ups and a canned food drive among other things.

“Between the 12 schools in the conference we were behind San Diego in total money,” Mcguan said. “But we ranked first in conference in money raised per athlete at just over $15 a person.”

San Diego has nearly twice as many student athletes as Chico State and raised just under $6000 to donate at nearly $9 raised per athlete. Chico State, being much smaller in size, still raised over $5000 at $15.38 per athlete. The Make-A-Wish Foundation has said Chico State will be receiving an award for how much they donated.

For the canned food drive every year, the Wildcats donate the proceeds to the Jesus Center in Chico. In the month of October this year, the SAAC collected 578 cans to be donated. They donated another 120 cans to the Hungry Wildcat fund thanks to former SAAC member and Chico State alum Andrew Gambino, who donated 186 cans this year.

“The committee is made up of two or three players off of each of Chico State’s varsity teams,” said Alistair Docherty of the men’s golf team. “We meet every few weeks to talk about things in the community we can help with, or fundraisers we can have.”

This coming year instead of donating the money the committee makes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the SAAC will be donating it to Aaron Demuth. Demuth, a Wildcats baseball alum, was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer, an uncommon cancer that afflicts just 35 out of 100,000 people. His family has set up a crowd funding campaign to raise $100,000.

Kevin Lucena can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_sports on Twitter.